February 22, 2006, 12:00 AM

Mountain Equipment conquers a site redesign

Canadian outdoor gear retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op has completed a major site redesign. The project is part of a broader initiative to increase the retailer’s brand awareness across multiple channels.

Canadian outdoor gear retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op has completed a major site redesign. The project is part of a broader initiative to increase the retailer’s brand awareness across multiple channels, says vice president of communication and marketing Peter ter Weeme.

The redesigned site, which Mountain Equipment last updated in 2003, features updated content and product images powered by a new e-commerce platform from Ecometry Corp.’s Blue Martini. “Successful e-commerce requires regular content and feature enhancements to satisfy consumers’ desire for new and fresh online experiences,” says ter Weeme. “The usability tests we conducted clearly suggest the redesigned site will be very well received by MEC members.”

Mountain Equipment, No. 343 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, redesigned its web site to drive e-commerce sales but also to present a unified multi-channel merchandising program to its more than 2 million members.

For instance, MEC.ca offers an enhanced interactive wish list and gift certificates that can be used in various combinations. The wish list enables customers to create a list tied to the company’s inventory system so customers can check the availability of stock online and in stores. Co-op members also can purchase gift certificates online and redeem them in any of Mountain Equipment’s 10 stores or at MEC.ca. Customers also can use the web to track remaining gift card balances.

“As a multi-channel retailer we strive to provide our members with consistency from one channel to the next,” says CIO Georgette Parsons. “While shopping on the web is obviously different from shopping in a store, the core elements of the MEC brand are all there.”

Mountain Equipment is following up the redesign of MEC.ca with a new French language site, expected to debut in late March. The site will carry the same content and products as the English version, the retailer says.

In 2005 Mountain Equipment increased web sales by almost 14% to $7.9 million in U.S. dollars compared with $7 million in 2004.

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